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In The Public Interest

Global pandemics: Not if, but when

The deadly influenza virus H7N9 (www.cdc.gov/flu/avianflu/h7n9-virus.htm) was first detected in China this March. “When we look at influenza viruses, this is an unusually dangerous virus for humans,” said Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) assistant director-general for health security.

Don’t ignore how others see us

In watching the massive media coverage and the reaction to the brutal bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, the wise poem “To A Louse…” composed in 1785 by the Scottish poet Robert Burns came to me:

“O wad some Pow’r the giftie gie us/To see oursels as ithers see us!”

English translation:

“And would some Power the small gift give us/To see ourselves as others see us!”

How can anyone be ‘comfortable’ with Bush’s legacy?

George W. Bush is riding high. A megamillionaire, from the taxpayer-subsidized Texas Rangers company, he makes $150,000 to $200,000 per speech, receives a large presidential pension and support facilities and dedicated the $500 million George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on April 25.

President Barack Obama was at the dedication, continuing to legitimize Bush, as he did from the outset by announcing in 2009 there would be no investigations or prosecutions of the Bush officials for their crimes.

Two Obamas, two classes

An Associated Press photograph (www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/07/nato-air-strike-kills-children-nato-af...) brought the horror of little children lying dead outside of their home to an American audience.

How big corporations are unpatriotic

Many giant profitable U.S. corporations are increasingly abandoning America while draining it at the same time.

General Electric, for example, has paid no federal income taxes for a decade while becoming a net job exporter and fighting its hard-pressed workers who want collective bargaining through unions like the United Electrical Workers Union (UE). GE’s boss, Jeffrey Immelt, makes about $12,400 an hour on an eight-hour day, plus benefits and perks, presiding over this global corporate empire.

Iraq must never happen again

Ten years ago George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, as war criminals, launched the sociocide of the people of Iraq — replete with embedded television and newspaper reporters chronicling the invasion through the Bush lens. That illegal war of aggression was, of course, based on recognized lies, propaganda and cover-ups that duped or co-opted leading news institutions such as the New York Times and the Washington Post.

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Walmart bosses: time for a decision on minimum wage

 

Two weekends ago on a bright, sunny day, a dozen of us demonstrated at shopping malls where Walmart has three of its giant stores, supplied heavily by products from China and other serf-wage countries. But outsourcing the jobs of its American suppliers to China was not the focus last Saturday. We were drawing attention to the plight of one million Walmart workers who are making far less than what Walmart workers made in 1968 when the minimum wage was the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $10.50 an hour today. 

The federal minimum wage should be $10.50

 

Day after day exposés pour forth about corporate and governmental wrongdoing and abuses of power from official reports, the media, lawsuits and citizen groups. Far more often than not, little or nothing happens. The organized culprits continue with their harmful and greedy ways.

The golden age of muckraking in films, books and magazine articles — assuming they are seen or read — can discourage people because the forces of law and order don’t follow through.

Gas prices a challenge for Obama

Here we go again. A sudden surge in the price of gasoline and heating oil is followed by reported expressions of frustrated despair by hard-pressed consumers in the midst of silence from the oil companies and abdication of responsibility by the elected and appointed officials of federal and state governments.

Nine dollars an hour is not enough

How could Barack Obama say, in his State of the Union speech, “let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on earth no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty,” and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour?